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Mad Quickies: Biodiversity Heritage Library

Sometimes—most times—I’m so busy worrying about the state of the world and climate change and why in blazes did Elon Musk send a car into space, that I’m absolutely stopped in my tracks by small moments of joy and beauty and discovery so poignantly intense they take my breath away. I’ve curated my twitter timeline and newsfeed to give me the most reliable current information… which is why I also have curated my twitter timeline to show me art, science, makers, creatives and of course animals. And that’s how I found the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Biodiversity Heritage Library is a “consortium of natural history institutions” and describes their mission further on their site:

Inspiring discovery through free access to biodiversity knowledge.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.

BHL also serves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of Life.

as well as this

#SciArt from the Biodiversity Heritage Library, a free and #openaccess digital library for #biodiversity literature.

and do they deliver!

They are online with 134,029 titles, 221,384 volumes and 53,893,194 pages!

Here are their sites:





Incidentally, their flickr account is well curated into sets of botanicals and animals and birds and some quirks like “The Poultry Book”.

Also, I’ve noticed that a super wonderful project right now on twitter is #ColorOurCollections and BHL is a participating institution along with excellent institutions like the Smithsonian, medical libraries, natural history museums around the world. The hashtag is excellent to simply scroll through but you’ll definitely be tempted to explore, so have some markers ready. In that mode, this is BHL’s coloring book: a downloadable pdf, each page viewable online, where each image has a click to more information about the featured item.

Do yourself—and the kids in your life—a favor and find BHL wherever you live online. Their sites are rabbit holes worthy of dropping into!

One more thing: if you’re feeling so inclined, do hit their tip jar!

Image from “The Rabbit”.


Geologic Universe, vault-keeper. Sheer Brick Studio, principal. Empty Set, designer. Bethlehem Mounties, media. WDIY 88.1FM NPR station programmer. Skepchick.

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